Satish Chandra, J. -
(1.)THESE three writ petitions raise common questions. The facts on which they are passed, broadly speaking, are similar. Therefore, they will all be decided by this judgment.
(2.)THE petitions are under Article 226 of the Constitution. They pray that proceedings for the acquisition of the petitioner's land under the Land Acquisition Act are invalid and ought to be quashed and that the respondents be restrained from interfering with the petitioner's possession over the land. The petitioners are the tenure-holders of various plots of land sought to be acquired and were, in actual cultivator possession, in the U. P. Gazette, dated 9-4-1960 a notification, dated 2-4-1960 was published. This was under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, notifying for general information that the land mentioned in the schedule is needed for a public purpose. It also stated that the Governor was of the opinion that the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act were applicable and that he was further pleased to direct that in view of the provisions of Section 17 (4) the provisions of Section 5-A of the Act shall not apply. The purpose of the acquisition was stated to be establishment of synthetic Rubber Factory by Messrs. Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd. Then another notification, dated 4-4-1960 was published. This stated that in continuation of the notification, dated 2-4-1960 and in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (2) of Section 40 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the Governor of U. P. is pleased to appoint the Sub-Divisional Officer, II, Bareilly to hold an enquiry in connection with the acquisition of the land for the construction of a synthetic rubber factory by M/s. Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd. at 11 a.m. on April 14, 1960 and onwards in the Collectorate Bareilly and to submit a report on the matter immediately thereafter for the consideration of the State Government. On 19-6-1960 the company executed an agreement with the State Government, in view of the provisions of Section 41 of the Land Acquisition Act, and on 23-6-1960
this agreement was published in the gazette. The notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, dated 30th June 1960 was published in the gazette, dated 2nd July 1960.
The validity of the proceedings initiated on the basis of these notifications was challenged in this Court by several petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. While these writ petitions were pending disposal in this Court a fresh development took place on 23-2-1961. The State Government passed two notifications Notification No. 569 (iii)-EP/XVIII-B-470-H-60. a copy whereof is Annexure 'D' to the petition, stated that in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 4 and Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, read with Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, is pleased to cancel Government Notification No. 851-EP/XVIII-B-53-H-60 dated April 2, I960, and No. 2845-EP/XVIII B-53-H-60, dated June 30, 1960, in so far as they relate to Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The second notification was No. 569 (vi)-EP/XVIII-B-470-H-60, a copy whereol is Annexure 'E' to the petition. This notification was under Section 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act stating that the land mentioned in the schedule is needed for a public purpose, namely, the establishment of a Synthetic Rubber Factory by M/s Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd. The Schedule mentioned exactly the same land as was mentioned in the cancelled notification dated 2-4-1960. This notification Further stated- "And whereas an enquiry has been made uncle: Sub-section (2) of: Section 40 of the said Act, and Messrs. Synthetics and Chemical Ltd., have entered into an agreement with the Governor of Uttar Pradesh in accordance with the provisions of Section 41 of the said Act, the Governor being satisfied that the acquisition is likely to prove useful to the public interest, is pleased to accord his consent under Section 39 to the acquisition of land specified in the Schedule."
It went on to state that the ease was one of urgency and that under Section 17 (4) of the Act the Governor is pleased to direct that provisions of Section 5-A of the Act shall not apply. Both these notifications were published in the U. P. Gazette, dated 25-2-1961. On 24-2-1961 a fresh notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act was made. This notification was also published in the U. P. Gazette, dated 25-2-1961, The State Government thereafter filed applications in the pending writ petitions which along with the writ petitions, came up for orders on 17-3-1961; Mr. Justice V. D. Bhargava dismissed the writ petitions as having become infructuous by the following order:
"This application has been filed that the notification which has been challenged has been withdrawn. A curious argument has been made on behalf of the petitioner that the respondent State Government has no jurisdiction to withdraw or cancel the notification with retrospective effect. I am unable to understand the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner at all. When a notification is cancelled it will be deemed to have never existed and the contention that the notification has still some value or will in any way affect the rights of the parties is not at all tenable. Learned counsel for the petitioner has further argued that there had been certain acts done under the previous notification but they "cannot be allowed to be undone now. If something has already been done there will be no legal effect by virtue of notification after the notification has been cancelled and withdrawn. Under the circumstances if there is any other notification and if that notification is also invalid, it is open to the petitioner to challenge the notification, but the present notification after having been cancelled by the State Government will be deemed to have never existed. Under the circumstances this writ petition has become infructnous and is dismissed."
The present petitions were filed on 3rd April 1961 and the validity of the proceedings initiated by the second set of notifications issued on 23rd find 24rh February 1961 is challenged.
(3.)THE respondents raised a preliminary objection. It is urged that each petition has been filed by more than one individual. A joint petition by more than one person is not maintainable. In order to appreciate this objection some facts may be mentioned.